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52 mg/dl and Ketones.

I read Teks’ post tonight and felt very overwhelmed. Maybe that’s the theme of the O.C. of late.

It’s been a difficult 24 hours out here in Rhode Island, medically speaking. I’ve been sporting moderate ketones for the better part of a day now. Changed the infusion set twice. Injected via syringe once. Haven’t eaten much due to fear of high bloodsugars. Actually called out of work today because of the ketone issue and my need to be focused and constantly hydrated.

Feeling exhausted.

Wondering how many times I can test for ketones over the course of a day and still be surprised at the dark pink appearance on the urinalysis strip. Wondering if it was being disconnected from the pump while I was at the gym yesterday that did it. Wondering if it was the combination of a potentially kinked pump cannula and a maybe partially spoiled bottle of insulin that started this chaos. Wondering if I can afford wasting all these test strips, infusion sets, insulin units, and days off from work. Wondering if I will always be working for medical insurance instead of for the love of the job. Wondering if writing this book will bring me peace or make me sad. Wondering how much patience we are allowed per day, and if I’ve just now reached my cap.

At one point this morning, I was at a bloodsugar of 52 mg/dl and sporting small ketones. Too much insulin after that Rage Bolus, not enough hydration to have flushed out the ketones. Strange feeling, that one, to be dizzy and shaky from the lack of sugar but aching and lethargic from its excess.

My body must be confused. I know I am.

Tomorrow is another try at this. So is the day after. And the day after that.

Six Until Me: The Book

Dear Faithful Readers,

It’s Shameless Plug Time again at Six Until Me.

Here’s the deal: I’m writing a book. And it’s about diabetes. (I know … try and contain your shock.) Having said that, I am looking to tap the good ol’ O.C. for perspectives.

What I’m looking for specifically is this:

Diabetics and Parents of Diabetics, how does this disease shape your life? Can you sum up the effects of this chronic condition in one phrase (I hate this disease and all its tricky bits…) or does the question instead provoke pages of musings? The question is extremely open ended and I hope responses will run the proverbial gamut. I am looking for it all. Please don’t censor yourself. Please don’t worry about how you will sound or what people will think. It’s the raw responses that I want. The ones that might scare you to write. I want this project to really highlight how truly psychological this condition is. And I want all of our voices to be heard.

I trust you.

There’s something very strange about this O.C. There is an unparalleled strength to this group, despite the distance between us all. We have, for the most part, never met in person. The majority of us have never had even a conversation on the phone. We have no idea what each other’s favorite colors are, or their birthdays, but we have intimate glimpses into each other’s darkest hours. Our coldest fears. Our moments of success. The truths that we hide from others. We share this disease and all its fretful fears and careful moments of hope.

One day we will share its cures.

But for this moment, we have the support of one another.

I will be contacting the contributors after reading submissions to discuss publishing options. Of course, any information gleaned from your responses will be both credited in the book and appreciated by the Me.

If you are comfortable answering this question and you would like to be involved in Six Until Me (the book), please email your responses to Six Until Me.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

— Kerri.

Good Luck, Lady.

I went to my dentist appointment.

“Aaaaaaaaahhhhh,” I opened my mouth like a baby bird every time the hygienist came near me. I couldn’t answer any of her questions because my toes were curling with fear. Those metal instruments scraping against my sensitive teeth and poking mercilessly at my gums.

“Aaaaaaahhhhh!” as I caught my reflection in the mirror as the blood was seeping out from around my gums. Panic struck me. I tried to stay calm, reaching down oh so slowly to put the pump on “Suspend” mode, as my nerves make my bloodsugar plummet. “You okay?” the hygienist asked, scraping across my molar and making the hair on my arms shudder.

“I’m fine. Just keep going.” I said, only though a mouth full of her fingers. So it sounded more like “Ib fibe. Tuskeeb go en.”

She finished me up. I escaped the office, nerves on edge but satisfied that I was safe for another six months. I put the key into the ignition of The Jetta, pushed aside the dangling tendrils of the hibiscus plant (I’ll explain in a minute), and headed for Route 1 North, towards Chris’s house. My new house.

My car was teeming with the last minute items from the move. In making sure my old apartment was completely empty, I had to forgo the rational “packing” course and opt for “tossing things haphazardly into the car” mode. A bag full of cleaning supplies, a roll of paper towels, and my snow boots rustled about on the back seat. An African Violet teetered precariously on the floor. And my giant hibiscus plant was everywhere. Long branches with big pink flowers were bobbing up and down every time I accelerated too aggressively. (Which was every time.)

So I advanced up the road. Not feeling too great, but I had just come from the Evil Dentist’s Office so I chalked up my headache to that. (Faithful Reader is already churning this one out, aren’t you? Headache = low bloodsugar. Well done, F.R.) I was on the phone with Chris as I drove, but realized that I felt bizarre.

“I am going to pull over. I think I need to test.” I told him. He urged me to do just that. “I’ll wait on the phone with you,” he said.

Pulled over. Grabbed the meter. Tink. The lancet hit my fingertip. Ew. The blood. 5…4…3…2…1 … 40 mg/dl.

“Holy shit, Chris. I’m 40. I need to get some juice or something.”

He remained on the phone as I pulled into the nearby gas station. “Get some juice, baby.” “Okay, okay.” I told him I would call him right back, as soon as I bought and drank some juice.

I stumbled into the gas station, lost in my own head. Headache: check. Dizzy: check. Arms and legs weak, as though they’d run a marathon the rest of me didn’t attend: check. But my mind was frighteningly clear. I knew exactly what was going on. I knew I needed to make it to the back of the store, where the coolers were, grab a juice and throw it down as fast as possible.

These waves of nausea and dizziness swept over me. I felt them dawning in my ankles, rising up to my waist and cresting just over my eyes, rendering me lost for a second. I paused in walking while the waves washed over me. And I held out my hands to brace myself if I fell as I made my way towards the juice.

Grabbed the cold glass doors. Dole Orange Juice … the bottle looked so familiar. In one motion, I upcapped the bottle, drank the juice in barely two sips, and eased my shaking frame against the doors.

The man behind the counter didn’t see me struggling at the back of his store. He didn’t notice that tears were running down my face as I brought the empty juice bottle to his register to pay for it. The cell phone, open and dialed to Chris’s number, was hanging limply from my hands.

“You want pay for that bottle?”

“Yes. Please. My name is Kerri.” I didn’t want to tell him my name but I couldn’t help but think that if he knew my name then I would be safer.

“One dollar. Forty-nine cents. You want ticket?”

“Yes. Please. I’m having a diabetic low bloodsugar reaction.” I offered a weak smile, handing him my money.

“Juice. Tickets. Here. Good luck, lady.”

Keys in the ignition, I tried to relax as the sugar eased into my blood stream. I called Chris and promptly started to cry at his “Are you okay? Did you drink the juice, baby?”

“I’m fine. I drank the juice. I’ll be okay…” Ragged breaths. The plastic bag rustled as I threw in the empty bottle of juice. The arms of the giant hibiscus flowers shuddered and eased around my shoulders.

It wasn’t until I was driving back home, bloodsugar stabilized at 97 mg/dl, that I realized there were two lottery tickets clutched in my hand.

Here’s hoping.

Playing Ketchup.

Who doesn’t love a good homonym?

There’s been a lot going on over the last week. I’ve been a small bit absentee. Here’s the run down, a la Six Until Me style:

The Move: The Boy and I have made the leap from Separate Apartments to Living Together. Yes, this is a good thing. And yes, I’m very happy. But yes, it’s been stressful emptying out my apartment and bringing the bulk of my belongings to his apartment. Whatever didn’t make it to Chris’s ended up in storage in my mother’s basement. Long story posted on a blog, I’ve been trekking my stuff all over RI and CT for the last week. I’m tired. I’ve put many miles on The Jetta. But I’m happy.

The Plan: The plan is to move outside of NYC in April. Me and The Boy. And The Jetta. So that I can find a job that has nothing to do with insurance and he can pursue the finer points of his film career. It’s both an exciting premise and a slightly frightening one. If you have any contacts in the NY/Western CT area, can you siphon me through to them? If you don’t have any contacts, don’t fret. Once I get there, you will.

The Meantime: It’s status quo in good ol’ RI. My job is still ridiculous. My cats are still hiding in garbage cans. My nephew informed me that, in baseball, two bases is a double, three is a triple, and four is a fourple. I’ve got my appointment at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston on November 1st. I am anticipating a lovely A1c. Maybe under 7% this time? Keep your Faithful Reader fingers crossed.

The O.C.: (Sorry Dee, but that’s the moniker that stuck. Because I pooled all the resources and found a plotline on the internet. Six Until Me:1. Six Until Dee:0) There’s a veritable deluge of quality Diabetes-related stuff cropping up on the internet lately. The new blogs? Check out Ryan Bruner. Or Infusion of Thought. Or the Diabetes Talkfest Forum, where diabetics of all types, sizes, and fonts can come together and find candid discussions and comfort. There’s also Reality Check, which is an Australian based open forum that has great discussion threads and they use words like “bloke”. All spots worth checking out. But don’t forget about your old favorites.

Like me.

And Larry Bird.

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